In a few respects, the Green Bay Packers got lucky with their schedule for the 2022 NFL season. In others, they are facing an uphill climb to repeat as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
Really, it ends up balancing out a bit in the second year of the 17-game schedule. The Packers play a first-place schedule, facing three other division winners from last season as they look to try to earn home-field advantage in the postseason for a third straight season — though the team has gone 1-2 in home playoff games in that time period.
On one hand, the Packers do not have to travel farther west than Minneapolis in 2022. On the other, they have a three-game stretch on the road plus two trips to Florida and one across the Atlantic Ocean, and even following the latter they will have to play again seven days later.
Let’s look at the big storylines coming out of the Packers’ schedule, which starts four months minus one day from tonight.
The London Game
Packers fans were already well aware of their team’s trip to the United Kingdom in the fall, as the date of their game against the New York Giants was revealed more than a week ago. Green Bay will play the home team opposite the “visiting” New York Giants in week five, with fans in the United States facing an early wake-up call for a 9:30 AM Eastern/6:30 AM Pacific kickoff.
That game in and of itself is not that much of an issue. Head coach Matt LaFleur has been a part of London games twice before, once with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 and again as the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2018. However, the biggest issue with the Packers’ scheduling around their London game is the fact that they do not have a bye week following their trip across the pond.
Instead, the Packers will return home to face the other team that calls New Jersey home, hosting the New York Jets at Lambeau Field seven days after their game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. This is a departure from the NFL’s typical approach, which has been to give teams playing in London a bye in the following week. Rather, the Packers will have a 12 Noon kickoff a week after playing six time zones away, effectively putting them on short rest when they face a team led by the best man in LaFleur’s wedding, Robert Saleh.
This situation is not unique to the Packers, however, as the NFL has shifted from its bye week strategy for almost all teams playing in London this year. Only one of the six teams participating in a London game in 2022 has a bye the following week; that is the Denver Broncos, who play the Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in week 8 and will be idle in week 9. However, both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks, who will be the teams in the NFL’s first regular-season game held in Germany, will have byes in week 11 after their week 10 matchup in Munich.
UPDATE: According to Tom Silverstein of Packersnews.com, the Packers evidently were given the choice to have their bye immediately after the game in London, but declined, preferring instead to have it later in the season. This adds an interesting dynamic to the timing of that bye.
The Late Bye Week
The tradeoff for not getting a bye after the London game is that it comes very late in the season. Any head coach for a playoff-caliber NFL team will tell you that they would prefer to have their bye later in the season, as it helps their team prepare for a stretch run to clinch a division title and hopefully a high playoff seed. Indeed, the Packers have a favorable late-season bye week, as they will be idle in the final possible window in week 14. That puts them in position to be somewhat rested and hopefully healthy heading into the final four weeks of the regular season.
Still, a week 14 bye by its very definition means that the team will play 13 straight games to start the season, including the aforementioned game in London. That’s a long time to go without a break, and the Packers’ one long week of rest (which comes following a Thursday Night Football Game) comes only two weeks prior to the full bye, as the team hosts the Tennessee Titans in week 11 before a Sunday night game in Philadelphia in week 12.
Midseason Road Trips vs. the Home Stretch
Coming out of their bye, the Packers will have three of four games at home to close the season. They will host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football in week 15 before a Christmas Day game in Miami, followed by home games against their two domed divisional opponents, Minnesota and Detroit, to close out the year. Those are four winnable games — even given the Rams’ status as defending champions — that give Green Bay a good chance to run the table over the final four weeks of the regular season.
However, the tradeoff of having three home games after mid-December is a three-game road trip in the middle of the season. Really, the rough patch of travel starts with that London game, which leads into the home game against the Jets in week 6. But after that, Green Bay travels to Washington, Buffalo, and Detroit in three straight weeks, the first time that the team will have played on the road for three consecutive games since 2016, when they faced Tennessee, Washington, and Philadelphia in weeks 10 through 12.
In that season, the Philadelphia game kicked off the Packers’ “Run the Table” stretch of six straight wins as Aaron Rodgers led the team to a division title. Still, any run of three weeks in a row on the road is a rough go.
Five Prime-Time Games
In 2022, the Packers are one of a handful of teams leading the way with five prime-time games on their schedule. The Packers get the Bears at Lambeau Field for a night game — no shocker there — with that contest coming on Sunday Night Football in week 2. Their trips to Buffalo (week 8) and Philadelphia (week 12) also come in the premier time slot on NBC, with that Eagles game taking place on Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.
Outside of the three Sunday Night Football games, the Packers have one game each on Monday and Thursday nights. Their Monday night game in week 15 comes out of their bye, giving them a full 14 days of rest between their matchups with the Bears at Soldier Field and hosting the Rams at Lambeau on Monday, December 19th. Then there is the Thursday game against the Titans, which will be televised exclusively on Amazon Prime in week 11.
Long vs. Short Rest
That break between the Titans game and the contest in Philadelphia is one of only a few games in which the Packers will play on more rest than their opponents this season. In fact, five games will see Green Bay entering on shorter rest than the opposition, compared to just two where the reverse is true. This graph shows how the Packers are the most disadvantaged team in terms of long vs. short rest in the entire NFL in 2022:
Twice, the Packers will play a team that is coming off a bye; those games come against the Dallas Cowboys in week 10 and the Buffalo Bills in week 8 — and both of those franchises were playoff teams in 2021. They also face teams coming off longer rest three other times this season: Washington plays a Thursday night game in week 6 before their week 7 game against Green Bay, the Vikings play on Christmas Eve (a Saturday in 2022) prior to their week 17 game in Lambeau, and the Dolphins will play on either a Friday or a Saturday before the Packers visit Miami on Christmas Day.
As an added knife-twist, even the Packers’ post-bye opponents have an especially long “normal” week of rest, helping to minimize any potential rest advantage that Green Bay may have. The Rams play on Thursday night before their Monday game in Green Bay, giving them 10 full days of rest compared to the Packers’ 14.
Overall Strength of Schedule
One factor in the Packers’ favor for 2022 is their overall strength of schedule. With Green Bay opening as 1.5-point favorites on the road in Minnesota for week one, they are likely to be favored in all but two games this season, with the expected exceptions coming in road contests against the Buccaneers and Bills. Additionally, based on opponents’ 2021 records, Green Bay has the 11th-easiest schedule with a combined opponents’ win percentage of 0.478.
Looking at current 2022 win total numbers from Las Vegas, the numbers show a slightly less optimistic picture, but still a positive one. According to Warren Sharp, the Packers’ SOS based on current Vegas forecasted win totals is 15th-easiest in the league, one spot behind the Vikings. With that said, much of the benefit in both of these measures comes from the fact that the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are on Green Bay’s schedule twice, as both have low projections for 2022 and were among the NFL’s worst teams in 2021.
All told, the Packers’ schedule presents significant challenges for the 2022 season, particularly with the team’s travel schedule in October and November. Starting with their game in London in week 5, the Packers will be away from home four out of five weeks, a stretch that includes a Sunday Night Football game on the road at one of the favorites in the AFC, before a tough two-game homestand against their old head coach Mike McCarthy and a Tennessee Titans squad that earned the #1 seed in the AFC.
However, if the Packers can manage to get through that brutal seven-week span with aplomb, they may be set up well down the home stretch thanks to a late bye week and a favorable final month with three home games in the last four contests.
It all begins three months and 30 days from now in Minneapolis. Mark your calendars, folks, because this season will be here before you know it.
Packers 2022 Schedule
|Week||Opponent||Venue||Location||Date||Kickoff Time (CT)||TV Network|
|Week||Opponent||Venue||Location||Date||Kickoff Time (CT)||TV Network|
|1||Minnesota Vikings||US Bank Stadium||Minnesota, MN||Sunday, September 11||3:25 PM||FOX|
|2||Chicago Bears||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Sunday, September 18||7:20 PM||NBC|
|3||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Raymond James Stadium||Tampa Bay, FL||Sunday, September 25||3:25 PM||FOX|
|4||New England Patriots||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Sunday, October 2||3:25 PM||CBS|
|5||New York Giants||Tottenham Hotspur Stadium||London, England||Sunday, October 9||8:30 AM||NFL Network|
|6||New York Jets||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Sunday, October 16||12:00 PM||FOX|
|7||Washington Commanders||FedEx Field||Landover, MD||Sunday, October 23||12:00 PM||FOX|
|8||Buffalo Bills||Highmark Stadium||Buffalo, NY||Sunday, October 30||7:20 PM||NBC|
|9||Detroit Lions||Ford Field||Detroit, MI||Sunday, November 6||12:00 PM||FOX|
|10||Dallas Cowboys||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Sunday, November 13||3:25 PM||FOX|
|11||Tennessee Titans||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Thursday, November 17||7:15 AM||Amazon Prime|
|12||Philadelphia Eagles||Lincoln Financial Field||Philadelphia, PA||Sunday, November 27||7:20 PM||NBC|
|13||Chicago Bears||Soldier Field||Chicago, IL||Sunday, December 4||12:00 PM||FOX|
|15||Los Angeles Rams||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Monday, December 19||7:15 PM||ESPN/ABC|
|16||Miami Dolphins||Hard Rock Stadium||Miami, FL||Sunday, December 25||12:00 PM||FOX|
|17||Minnesota Vikings||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Sunday, January 1||3:25 PM||CBS|
|18||Detroit Lions||Lambeau Field||Green Bay, WI||Sunday, January 8||TBD||TBD|